Tanec | Center for Performing Arts, Governors State University | International | Chicago Reader

Tanec Critic's Choice Recommended Soundboard

When: Tue., April 28, 8 p.m. 2009

There’s more to Balkan music than the hard-partying trubaci of Guca. Sixty years ago the government of Yugoslavia formed state-sponsored ensembles to preserve the folk traditions of the country’s republics, and among those still active is this Macedonian group of dancers, singers, and musicians, currently 36 strong. Tanec (pronounced “TAH-nehts”) has built its reputation with a UNESCO-protected dance called Teshkoto, whose name translates roughly as “the difficult one.” Originating in the mountainous, shepherd-­populated western part of Macedonia, the dance was traditionally performed by men in woolen costumes on the outskirts of a village as their fellows left to find work overseas, and its slow, strenuous, precisely controlled movements speak to a great weight of grief being borne. Accompanied by a droning, rubato-tempo song played on zurla (a folk oboe with a piercing, nasal tone) and tapan (a two-headed field drum), the dancers follow the improvised gestures of a leader as he squats down, balanced on one leg, and then inches back up. Finally he repeats his moves while perched heroically atop the tapan, and then the whole group erupts into a brisk, jumpy tune. Tanec will perform nine dances, with songs and instrumental music in between (the lineup includes gaida, kaval, and tamburitza as well as more familiar instruments like accordion, clarinet, and violin); they’re playing on the far south side, close to the nearly 15,000 Macedonians who’ve immigrated to Indiana’s Lake County. —Vera Videnovich

Price: $30-$40

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